THINNERRR: The Ritual Cleanse Made Me Drop 8 Pounds (and I’m Still Losing Weight)

"Healthy" gimmick-y diet-y stuff is not my thing, or so I thought—until I juice fasted for a week on this special program. And it sort of...turned my life around.

Feb 23, 2012 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

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Okaaaay, for starters: the outfit? Not my best. Jeans shoved into boots and all. But they are Chloe motorcycle boots (ow; my foot) (I just dropped that label name!).

My point in posting this weird outfit in the first place is that the photo was taken Sunday (on my horrible BlackBerry camera) at Gold Bar (of "I Smoked Weed With Joe Jonas" fame; natch) and I am wearing jeans, goddammit. White jeans (they are very dirty) (I love dirty whites) (I know, these parentheses are getting so annoying).

Do you know how long it has been since I have worn jeans?

About eight months. Since I went off Adderall (which I took for ADHD for 15 years and not for weight loss, some of you readers in the comments section from previous articles).

Now it's fair to say that I’m generally not considered a healthy person. I don’t even want my health editor or director or health critic title; I hate it. And this means that I eat from the deli on my corner; I don’t cook.

Where did my unhealthy eating habits come from? I dunno. I have a mom who used to be anorexic. I was bulimic—despite being on Adderall—like an idiot for a while, binging and purging pizza and meatballs and those multipacks of mini-sugary cereals one after another, topless over a toilet, throughout the night.

I haven’t really written about it on here because I don’t have much to say about it. I was never treated for it; it went away because I drugged my hunger, if I think about it. Which I don't really care to (think about it; re-visit it); noo thanks.

And then, again, I was prescribed speed for 15 years for ADHD; we all know how that went.

Or do you not, newcomers? Okay, one more time. I'm sorry, regulars; I'm sick of me, too; read this like you're the Micro Machines Man: I was prescribed speed for 14 years, since age 15, for ADHD, and it did a great job treating all that for about eight months. Then it became my drug. Instead of getting my act together, I stayed on what I knew was spinning me out and had meltdown after meltdown after meltdown and couldn’t TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE NO MORE. I went off that shit, started feeling fucking bananas great, discovered my true self, made forty thousand friends, scored a job I loved, started writing creatively and won over a bunch of super cool readers (you guys), and…gained a lot of weight.

It was all very Britney comeback, truth be told (and we both gain in our midsections)!

Now I am a small person and it wasn’t the end of the world, at first. I knew I’d lose the weight eventually; everyone gains when they go off drugs, and so many great things were happening for me. I didn’t feel not good-looking. Just like Britney never ceased to be a minx and all, right? She's Britney! And I'm Cat.

About three months into all this, my favorite jeans didn’t fit. Okay, I still had three bigger pairs. Then literally none of my jeans fit. And it was getting cold outside. Pants weather!

Enter my Sweatpants Phase. (No I wasn't about to go shopping. That means defeat!)

Yup, I started wearing sweatpants. Ugly sweatpants, from the early 2000s when sweats were cool (can you N.ame T.hat B.rand in the photo below, B.aby?).

I wore sweatpants...

Every...

Single...


Day. 

For about four months.

Ask the xoJane staff. They didn't see me out of sweatpants for probably six months. I don't know if until these past few weeks they've ever seen me in jeans, because before, it was summer (then sweatpants).

You guys, I wore sweatpants to a nightclub. I mean, I’m swag downtown so they had to let me in. But I wore sweatpants to a nightclub! In Soho!

See:

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That’s my fashion editor friendsitting next to me getting grinded (ground?) on by our friend Remo. In retrospect, it is a testament to our friendship she would even be seen with me at the time.

Anyway, so, the Sweatpants Phase.

This won’t last, I thought.

But it did.

                                                     ******

I kept remembering what Lesley Arfin—a friend that I have always looked up to— told me one time: “I got skinner when I got sober.” I’d seen her over the summer; she lives in LA now but was back in New York for a few days over the summer and I was with my best friend, who is her ex-boyfriend and we ran into her on the street one night.

And here, I took a (blurry, BlackBerry) picture of them together, and look at the proof that sober (and for me, that would mean off my "problem" pill; I still take drugs recreationally) can be the skinniest and leanest most hot Bambi thing you’ve ever seen:

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Lesley, I would think creepily to myself, looking at this picture later. Lesley Lesley skinny sober Lesley. That could be me. It's possible.

Cause in her book, Dear Diary, she talks about how she misses feeling so skinny and beautiful when she was on drugs. Just like I was feeling. You know?

But my weight, and the sweatpants, stayed on.

*****

This is the part of the going-off-you-favorite-drug-part where you’re supposed to exercise. Should be easy when you are already ALWAYS in sweatpants, no?

Instead—understandably, because it was a tough time, going off my favorite drug--I got clinically depressed and vaguely crazy, as I am wont to do.

Then something really sick and bad happened to me, but sorry, I don't write about anyone from New York or LA on this site right now; I'll ruin this dude's life in my book someday.

Anyway, it was an incredibly dark few months for me. It also made me eat more.

So I holed up through that. I also started using the devil’s website: Seamless Web.

And smoking the devil’s weed: weed (and not even with a JoBro).

Eventually, as part of my depression, for the first time I was isolating and numbing with food like I used to with pills.

It was so new, but it felt really good. I ate and ate and ate, like the very hungry caterpillar if he was a (not really recovering that well after all) drug addict, and maybe he was, and basically replaced drugs with food. I really did.

(I also could only read celebrity gossip blogs, and did so, like, literally four hours a day.)

I went from 100 lbs to 130 lbs in about five months.

I hated looking at myself. It was really hard.

*****

You're gonna say: I can't see the weight in these pictures. Yeah, well, with the exception of the nightclub shot, anyway, the photos above are from previous stories; you can click on them. I controlled the images that go up on here; you think I don't? Please.

The weight was never anyone's but mine to see. Duh!

The xoJane Real Girl Belly Project, Round One, came and went. I wasn't in there. 

I was reeling from suddenly being a "real girl."

Because, I mean, as a heavy prescription drug addict I was all "THINNERRR" curse like the Steven King book:

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So while my gaining 30 lbs might look a little different than maybe someone else's gaining 30 lbs, I want you to know that, still, this past year, I learned what it was like to gain 30 lbs.

I learned what it was like to suddenly have parts of your brain that used to be totally into interesting things in the external world become self-obsessed: this must change get rid of this this can't go on how did you get here. I learned a lot of empathy for people who struggle with weight and body image that I'd never had before.

I am getting totally off track here, but I just wanted people to understand that about me.

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My depression cleared a while ago. Recently, with chemical help. Don’t need to go into that. Hooray! But I still had the weight on me; I started exercising five times a week for like an hour; I lost like four pounds.

I was still overeating: not bad things—think yogurt, popcorn, hummus, oatmeal—just…all of the time, because I was writing from home all day and partying all night; I was unstructured; I don’t cook; I have a wonky relationship with food; I do drugs; I’m not healthy; etc.

(And I was still reading Celebitchy and eating, because, well, it was fun.)

But even after losing five or so pounds from exercise, I was still whining to my Julie so much that finally she got all Tupac on me:

“Cat,” she said to me one afternoon, “let’s change the way you eat. Let’s change the way you live.”

"I'll do anything," I lied.

"I'm--," Julie said.

"I will not," I hissed, "Julie, be told, incidentally, to do Physique 57 next to Kelly Ripa or whoever. Fuck no. I'm not doing the new thing with the bike. SoulCycle. I'm not doing Barry's Boot Camp or whatever it is you do in at seven o'clock in the morning in Midtown with Bryan! You need to be realistic."

"I'm getting you a cleanse," she said.

"Ew no," I said.

"Not a colonic," Julie said, because we are psychic and crazy and she understands everything I am thinking, not unlike Cris Angel: Mind Freak. "A cleanse. Juice."

I considered this

"Swag?"

"Very."

I thought about how shamed my good friend Ray Siegel would feel when I pulled out my new designer juice that she didn't have yet at Fashion Week.

"Aight." It was on.

*****

A week later, a few days before Fashion Week started, a giant box showed up at my apartment. I called Julie and bitched out her skinny ass loud enough so that Olivia and Madeline next to her in the office could hear over the phone (I like to scare three underlings at once mwa ha ha).

"What is this crate, Julie!" I hollered. I had been expecting approximately six juices, not a huge sealed brown box that had to be lugged in by a delivery guy and heaved upon the ground (I think I am remembering this accurately?).

"It's your Ritual Cleanse!" she chirped, in her Julie way. She acts like she wears a headset.

"You are fucking nuts," I said. "You are pro-ana."

"Cat," Julie said, super-serious. "Cat. Please promise me. Please promise me you won't cheat. Just give it a chance. Just take it seriously."

"I won't," I said.  I guess I meant it. I knew how much the thing (ostensibly, though we'd gotten it for free) cost.

"And..." Julie trailed off, like she always does when she's scared (of moi).

"WHAT?!" I snarled. "Spit it out!"

"No eating; no dinners, no champagne; no coke; no drugs," she wimpered. "No alcohol. Nothing recreational."

There was a long silence between us.

"But it's Fashion Week!" I said.

Crickets.

"I have parties all week, Julie!"

Nothing.

"But Chrissie Miller said she might introduce me to Lindsay this week, do you understand me?! Lindsay!"

No answer. I hated Julie!

"If the Jennifer Aniston perfume that I've been wanting since August isn't in the office by Friday I'm firing you," I said. Then I hung up on her.
                                                    *****

I opened the box, which was cold, and unloaded all this into my (completely empty) fridge:

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Incredibly, I stayed sober all Fashion Week: I was so high on the thrill of my cleanse and dropping the weight, you see! Yet somehow, it was still a blur. I guess Fashion Week always is. 

So here's where we're going to get into technicalities. I had a four-day cleanse. I stretched it out over five days because I didn't drink all of the juices every day and shockingly found them crazily filling.

I did the amazing Classic Reset: it's made of more than 15 lbs of 100% organic and full of stuff like kale, cucumber, spinach, ginger, lemon, celery, romaine, agave, apple, cinnamon, and vanilla. Things that I barely have put in my body in 2012 once. I mean, I wear a lot of vanilla perfume.

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You're supposed to drink them in numerical order—from 1 through 6—every two hours throughout the day. I did this almost perfectly for the first two days. I loved almost all of the juices, except for the #6s, which were made of cashews and nutmeg and tasted like cookies!

Two days into the cleanse, it was Fashion Week, and it was crazy. I was never at home, and I was hauling these things around. But I was feeling...amazing. And I had lost weight.

In three days, I'd lost 4 lbs. I also lost weight because I was running around at shows (although truth be told, I took like fifty $20 taxis that I lost all my receipts for and am still pissed about), but still.

I was also by then drinking them out of order, because I kept grabbing the wrong ones. But good God--my clothes were fitting better already, my energy was different, and my face was thinning out!

Here, here was me with one of my downtown heroes, Mickey Boardman of Paper Magazine at Cynthia Rowley. I worship you Mr. Mickey! Sorry about the fur:

I swear to God I didn't have cheekbones just two days before.

My filthy Balenciaga is bulging with Ritual Cleanse juices in that pic, by the way. Lugging them around gave me a shoulder ache all Fashion Week, but maybe they also made me lose more weight.

By day four, I had lost 6 lbs. I could put on a pair of jeans—not my skinny jeans (those come later), but A PAIR of jeans. I wore them to a Fashion Week thing. I was so thrilled I could have died.

I mean, the elephant in the room of course is that I was not eating. At all. But you're not allowed to with the cleanse.

Oh, I sat at a few glam dinners, but instead of eating, I just pulled out one of my Ritual Cleanse juices and showed off to the fashion crowds (who were jealous just like I thought, and all tapped down the name of the cleanse in their iPhones): "This cleanse is changing my life; I've been feeling amazing; I've lost six pounds." So everyone was (not) eating it up; har har.

And I really had. I was flabbergasted.

How? I was super busy, for like ten hours a day. I had Julie coaching me and pleading with me every few hours on the phone, telling me "Please, please don't cheat. I got you this special cleanse; it's a really big deal. Don't cheat." So I didn't want to let her down, because scoring a free Ritual Cleanse is not some small deal.

Also, every time I wanted something to go in my mouth, I had this...bottle to reach for. And it tasted good. And it was fun to talk about! I yammered on to everyone about them! They were so interesting!

"Look!" I showed my graffiti friends one night, at like 6 am. They were genuinely interested. "Taste this! It's like salad in a bottle!"

"That's really good!" said my street artist friend Mike Mint, who spent his childhood in Communist Russia. Then he asked for another sip. And then I let him drink half of one (even though they were precious), because he liked it so much. "They should make one out of beets."

So somehow I just came to easily replace all that...sitting on my bed and eating (which is what one does in New York City studio apartments, truth be told), reading Media Take Out, with running around, juices in my bag, feeling active, losing weight.

I even extended my cleanse an extra two days by saving one juice for a sixth day (though I ate salad, too, on that day, and then using the special "only for working out" two juices, Pre-Shred and Shred, on a seventh day, and doing a boring 30 minute treadmill incline walk between those drinking them. Just so I could have them (you can only drink them if you work out).

So I messed with the cleanse a little at the end. But I was paranoid that I was out of it; that's how much I loved it.

At the end of seven days, I'd lost eight pounds I'd had around my midsection for a year. I was down to 122.

Then, because of my kickstart from Ritual Cleanse, I lost eight more pounds over the next three weeks. Because it's completely changed my taste for food.

No, I am not starving myself. I am definitely eating. But my energy is changed. I totally fit into all my jeans I haven't worn in a year again: 

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So I'm not trying to be all about the numbers and the scale or anything, but I'm at 113.5 lbs and I'm just happy with my body again.

How did this happen? I wake up every single morning craving juice and not bagels or whatever. Weird.

*****

So that's what I've been drinking a lot more of. My junk food cravings have gone away. And it's changing my life.

But I kept buying juices in my neighborhood and eating vegan food from this place Juice Press.

The Ritual Cleanse kickstarted a completely different me. I'm in touch with my body in a way that I have never been before. I just don't feel compelled to eat all of the time. I drink water and ($10) juices constantly; I crave fruits and vegetables. I'm eating tofu and vegan protein. I walk for like an hour and a half every day. I just feel different.

I will say that before I started this thing I had dinner with the aforementioned Sophomore designer Chrissie Miller, whom I worship, omigod, and her friend, the incredibly sweet model Jess Stam—who know more than I do about such things, surely, and both of them immediately were all, "cleanses are a cult; don't get sucked in!"and maybe I have been!

However.

I don't know what to tell you except that was honestly my experience. I am thrilled with how I look and I filed this under the "beauty" category of the site, not "healthy", because I don't know how healthy dropping weight as fast as I am dropping it is.

But I do know that I know now that I don't need pills to fit in my stupid jeans again, and sometimes it's just little things like that—that are so dumb: not fitting into jeans, and not having anything to wear with tights—that have kept me in the house at certain times in the past year when I should have been out living a fuller life.

I swear to God. That kept me from living a full life. It's sick, but so am I sometimes. And Ritual Cleanse really, really helped me. I feel so much better.

And that's the thing, you guys. This isn't about weight. This is about unhealthiness and unhappiness, and not taking care of yourself and feeling good, and I wasn't doing any of those things. I don't write about weight loss stuff on here much because it's not something I particularly encourage or am interested in for our readers.

Uh, I mean this is probably the one time I will write a big weight loss technique on here. Just because this one worked so well for me.

(I mean, not to keep harping on this, but when I walked into the office a few days after Fashion Week, after not seeing them for eight days, Jane and Julie and everyone like gasped! And I didn't even know why, because I was distracted and on the phone! They were like, "You look so different". And that's when I realized that I could be comfortable endorsing Ritual Cleanse to readers whose trust I value above anything. And whom I understand value my integrity as a unique kind of beauty editor who doesn't lie and bullshit them above anything. Okay?)

I mean, it's the most boring subject in the world; who cares what any of us weigh when we can all be talking about all the weird fun stuff we talk about and also perfume?

Besides, no one needs to lose weight. Everyone needs to feel better. So if these two are intertwined for you, I suggest considering spending the money on Ritual Cleanse.

At $80 a day for six juices, it is not inexpensive. The good news is that they have generously offered a discount of 20% to xojane readers until the end of the month. Simply plug in xojanereader when you check out.

Have you ever tried a cleanse? If so, what was your experience? 

Cat's on Twitter @cat_marnell. Ritual Cleanse is on Twitter @ritualcleanse.